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Choosing the Right Leadership Style for Your Team

As an HR professional, you certainly understand how important leadership is for employee performance, satisfaction, and retention. But how do you choose the best leadership style for your team?

Here are some factors to consider:

Three professional women working togetherWork Environment and Culture

Think about the pace and dynamics of your work setting. Is it fast and agile, or slow and steady? How are the growth and development opportunities in your organisation? How much risk and uncertainty does your team face? How do you balance security and recognition for your team members?

Leadership Styles

Learn about the different leadership styles and their pros and cons. For example:

  • Autocratic Leadership: This style is good for making quick decisions in emergencies, but it can limit creativity and collaboration.
  • Democratic Leadership: This style is good for involving team input and fostering teamwork, but it can take too much time and compromise efficiency.
  • Transformational Leadership: This style is good for inspiring and motivating team members and promoting growth, but it requires strong communication and vision.
  • Laissez-Faire Leadership: This style gives team members autonomy and empowerment but can lead to a lack of direction and accountability.
  • Servant Leadership: This style is good for putting team needs first and building trust, but it may need assertiveness and authority when necessary.

Team Needs

Understand what your team members prefer and need. Do they like to work collaboratively or independently? Do they need clear guidance or freedom to explore? Do they respond well to challenges or stability?

HR professionals sat having a discussionOrganisational Goals

Align your leadership style with the goals of your organisation. If you need to foster innovation, you may want to use a transformational or democratic style. If you need to ensure quality and consistency, you may want to use an autocratic or servant style.

Adaptability

Be flexible and adjust your leadership style according to the situation. Different scenarios may call for different approaches. Be ready to switch gears when needed.

 

To obtain insight into what people prefer in their leaders, we conducted a poll among professionals from various industries and sectors. We asked them to choose one of these four options:

  1. Inspires Innovation: This leadership style encourages creativity, experimentation, and new ideas.
  2. Provides Guidance & Stability: This leadership style offers clear direction, support, and consistency.
  3. Offers Development & Growth: This leadership style prioritises learning, feedback, and personal growth.
  4. Other: We asked respondents to comment below stating what they sought in a leader.

The poll results showed that:

  • 46% of the respondents chose “Offers Development & Growth”. Nearly half of our respondents would prefer a leader who can help them improve their skills, challenge themselves, and make an impact.
  • 33% preferred “Provides Guidance & Stability”. This means that many want a leader who can give them a sense of direction, security, and stability.
  • 19% opted for “Inspires Innovation”. These respondents want a leader who can stimulate their creativity, curiosity, and innovation.
  • 2% chose “Other (comment below)”.  A popular comment stated that “All of the Above” applies.

HR professionals have a discussionThe results reveal that professionals have diverse preferences and expectations for their leaders, based on their personal and professional aspirations, values and motivations. As an HR professional, you should appreciate the diversity of your team members, and adjust your leadership style accordingly. Here are some suggestions based on the poll results:

  • Keep in touch with your team members and seek their feedback and views on your leadership style and performance.
  • Give your team members chances for growth and development, such as training, mentoring, coaching and feedback.
  • Offer your team members clear guidance and stability, such as setting goals, expectations, roles and responsibilities.
  • Encourage your team members to innovate and experiment, by giving them autonomy, resources and recognition for their ideas. By doing this, you can build a positive and productive work environment and culture, where your team members feel valued, motivated, and engaged.

Effective leadership is not one-size-fits-all; it’s about adapting to the situation and empowering your team to succeed.

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